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So I'm on the road again. This time I'm working the back alleys of the deep south, wandering this familiar landscape of splinters and rust.

In North Carolina I wandered into the town of Burlington. It is the place where much of the nation's furniture is made. But I saw no furniture shops, only long stretches of forgotten and forlorn buildings. A few were shuttered. All were eclectic.

Burlington may represent the front lines of the furniture trade, but when it comes to trendy footwear, a traveler has little choice but to keep on moving.

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July 2005